Acute cerebral ischemia has been shown to be associated with an enhanced transverse relaxation rate in rat brain parenchyma, chiefly due to the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) effect. In this study, Carr-Purcell R 2 (CP R2), acquired both with short and long time intervals between centers of adiabatic π-pulses (τCP), was used to assess the contributions of BOLD and tissue effects to the transverse relaxation in two brain ischemia models of rat at 4.7 T. R1p and diffusion MR images were also acquired in the same animals. During the first minutes of global ischemia, the long τCP R2 in brain parenchyma increased, whereas the short τCP R2 was unchanged. Based on the simulations, and using constraints of intravascular BOLD effect on parenchymal R2, the former observation was ascribed to be due to susceptibility changes arising in the extravascular compartment. R 1p declined almost immediately after the onset of focal cerebral ischemia, and further declined during the evolution of ischemic damage. Interestingly, short τCP CP R2 started to decline after some 20 min of focal ischemia and declined over a time course similar to that of R1p, indicating that it may be an MRI marker for irreversible tissue changes in cerebral ischemia. The present results show that CP R 2 MRI can reveal both tissue- and blood-derived contrast changes in acute cerebral ischemia.